THURSDAY’S STORY LINE: Jason Zucker, who took a nasty hit from Ducks forward Corey Perry on Tuesday, will be out of the lineup Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.
The league suspended Perry four games for the hit. Zucker skated on his own Thursday morning, and Wild coach Mike Yeo said he anticipates his young forward will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip to Colorado, Vancouver and Detroit.
With Zucker out, Pierre-Marc Bouchard will be back in the lineup. Bouchard has been a healthy scratch the past three games. The 28-year-old has 332 points in 542 career games and is a proven playmaker.
“I want to see him come in and not play the type of game where you are afraid of making a mistake and where you play safe,” Yeo said. “I want to see him come in and play with confidence and make a point. He has the ability to do that. He has the ability to control the play and obviously create, and certainly we have to do that within our structure within the way we want to play the game. But he has to find a way to be a factor.”
Bouchard will take Zucker’s place on the second line with Devin Setoguchi and Matt Cullen. Setoguchi said they know what to expect from the very skilled Bouchard and doesn’t believe playing alongside him will be a big adjustment.
“Bouch had more skill then anyone in this dressing room,” Setoguchi said. “We know exactly what we are going to get from him. For our line to be successful, we need to be quick. We need to get in on pucks and turn pucks over, and for Bouch he is going to get the puck and he is going to look for you to get open. I know he is going to be hungry tonight.”
REALIGNMENT APPROVED: The NHL Board of Governors on Thursday approved realignment effective for the 2013-14 season. One person who was very happy about the changes – which will put the Wild in a division with teams that are closer geographically – was Yeo: “Travelwise, what is going to do for us is huge. As much as anything else, I love rivalry hockey, and I think that’s going to bring that here.”
HE SAID IT: “They are a young skilled team that is fast. If you are not ready to skate and play the game the right way then they are going to skate away. So for us I think it is key that we come out and have a good start again, to do that and settle into the game pretty early. Stick to our game do what we do best — that is be a solid defensive team.” — Setoguchi on how to beat Colorado